Wendy Burgos has lived in Los Angeles and been through earthquakes. Thursday’s afternoon’s events felt nothing like one, but the loud crack shook her right out of her chair.
“Then I saw leaves where they shouldn’t be,” she said.
Branches and leaves that moments earlier had been high above her house were pushing up against her front windows.
When the first round of storms blew through Oelwein that afternoon, a tree in front of her house at 23 Sixth St. NW split and crashed down on the roof causing severe damage above where Burgos was sitting. Drywall cracked but no parts of the tree actually came into the room.
Still partially attached to the tree trunk, the feet-thick branch extended like a bridge over the yard between the house and the tree where it was still partially attached.
For their safety, Burgos and her family were told they could not stay in the house, which was built in 1954, that night. She said the Red Cross was making arrangements.
Trees were snapped, branches and empty trash cans were strewn into yards and streets throughout the north side of town. Two blocks to the north, another house had part of a tree crash down on it, but with less damage.
City employees used front end-loaders to push downed trees, such as one that fell across First Ave. NE, onto boulevards. Alliant Energy crews worked in ensuing drenching rain to fix power lines.